Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2012

Publication Citation

50 Family Court Review 205 (2012).

Abstract

This article brings together legal, historical, and social science research to analyze how couples allocate income-producing and domestic responsibilities. It develops a framework—what I call the marriage equation—that shows how sex-based classifications, (non-sex-specific) substantive marriage law, and gender norms interrelate to shape these choices. Constitutional decisions in the 1970s ended legal distinctions between the duties of husbands and wives but left largely in place both gender norms and substantive rights within marriage, tax, and benefits law that encourage specialization into breadwinning and caregiving roles. By permitting disaggregation of the marriage equation, the new reality of same-sex marriage can serve as a natural experiment that should inform both study design and policy reform.